Christopher Impey

Professor, Astronomy

Astronomer, Steward Observatory

Distinguished Professor

Member of the Graduate Faculty

Chris Impey is a University Distinguished Professor. For 17 years he was Deputy Head of the Astronomy Department at the University of Arizona, and he is currently Associate Dean of the College of Science. He has over 180 refereed publications and 60 conference proceedings, and his work has been supported by $20 million in grants from NASA and the NSF. As a professor, he has won eleven teaching awards, and has been heavily involved in curriculum and instructional technology development. Chris Impey is a past Vice President of the American Astronomical Society. He has also been an NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholar, a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, and the Carnegie Council on Teaching’s Arizona Professor of the Year. He was a co-chair of the Education and Public Outreach Study Group for the recent Decadal Survey of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2009, he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2014 he was selected as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor.   Chris Impey aims to convey the excitement of astronomy in as many ways as possible to a large public audience. He gives 20 public talks a year, to audiences as large as 4000 and as varied as NASA engineers, first-graders, and Buddhist monks. He has written over forty popular articles on cosmology and astrobiology and authored two introductory textbooks. His has published seven popular science books: The Living Cosmos (2007, Random House), How It Ends (2010, Norton), How It Began (2012, Norton), Talking About Life (2010, Cambridge), Dreams of Other Worlds (2013, Princeton), Humble Before the Void (2014, Templeton), and Beyond (2015, Norton). His first novel, Shadow World, was published in 2013. His Teach Astronomy web site has over 5000 visitors a week, and his YouTube lectures and videos have over half a million views. He is currently teaching two Massive Open Online Classes (MOOCs) to over 70,000 people, most of them living outside the United States.  

Offering Research Opportunities?


Prerequisite Courses

Depends on the project. Projects include working on science literacy, astronomy pedagogy, the use of machine learning to detect science misinformation on the web, and building massive open online classes, or MOOCs.

Majors Considered

Astronomy, Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Journalism, English, Creative Writing, Film.

Types of Opportunities

Description of Opportunity

No description given

Start Date

January 1987

Primary Department

Affiliated Departments

Research Location